The Orioles and Yankees present a contrast of styles this year, and never has it been more apparent than during this weekend series in Baltimore, which finishes on Sunday.
New York leans heavily on its pitching, and in the finale it will hand the ball to its most reliable starter, Hiroki Kuroda, to prevent a sweep at the hands of its American League East rival. The Orioles, on the other hand, get by with an explosive offense, one that scored four runs in the opening frame on Saturday and kept tacking on runs on the way to an 11-3 victory.
Sunday presents a chance for the Orioles' first sweep of the Yankees since 2005 and, perhaps, a symbolic changing of the guard in the division. The young Orioles, led by Adam Jones, Manny Machado and Chris Davis, have climbed three games ahead of the Yankees, who are without young star power as well as most of their veteran staples, and threaten to create even more space on Sunday.
"Hitting is difficult," New York manager Joe Girardi said as he searches for a solution for his team's offensive struggles. "It's not easy. You can try some things, but we've faced a lot of left-handers, and to take some crazy risks, I don't believe in doing that."
Kuroda represents New York's best chance at a win every five days. CC Sabathia gave up a three-run lead on Friday. On Saturday the Yankees allowed 11 runs, nine by starter David Phelps in 2 1/3 innings.
Girardi hasn't seen the team's mind-set change, though. The Yankees can climb back within two games of the second-place Orioles with a win on Sunday, and with reinforcements coming, they aren't out of it completely -- but they need to start winning.
Their task won't be easy, though, as Baltimore will be sending to the hill Chris Tillman, who has won six of his past seven starts and is 5-0 in June.
Orioles: Davis' incredible power trip
Davis belted two more home runs in Saturday's win, making him the first in the Majors to 30. His incredible first half also ties him with Brady Anderson for the most home runs by an Oriole before the All-Star break.
Yankees: Adams working through a slump
Through 10 Major League games, David Adams was a .300 hitter, flashing his potential. Three games earlier he'd hit his first career home run, against the Orioles.
Since then he's tumbled. His averaged slipped to .200 in 15 games. Five games later he's hovering below .200.
Adams is batting just .190, with a .280 slugging percentage and just two home runs. But similar to his teammates, he hasn't changed his demeanor.
"I haven't seen him hang his head a lot," Girardi said. "I think his personality has been pretty consistent. He worked really hard."
• Davis and Machado lead the Majors in home runs and doubles, respectively. The last teammates to lead the league in both categories were Yankees Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth in 1927.
• As good as Kuroda has been this season, the Orioles' top hitters have experienced some success against him, with Nick Markakis and Jones batting .385 and .375, respectively. Davis has just one home run against Kuroda but is a .285 hitter in his career off him.
David Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.